Up@dawn 2.0

Monday, March 24, 2014

Group 1 Chapters 8/9

On Thursday, the class split off into outdoor groups in order to test the Peripatetic waters. It didn't prove difficult for us to maintain a full group discussion during the walk, so we had no need to further split our group. Our first stop was the KUC, to pick up a map, and on the way, we discussed dog breeding, our ideas about being outside, the weather in general, and our class thus far. Just before our entrance in to the KUC, we saw a group of LARPing students and decided that these were the people that we would come check out once we had the map. While Logan has a more detailed description of exactly what we talked about written on the map, I can provide the bits that I remember. At the KUC, we marveled at how difficult it actually WAS to find a map: when found, they were sticky and lacking of space to write on. Once outside again, we resumed our observations of the LARP (live action role play) group. Some of us were tentative about the activity, being slightly confused about the reason for doing such a thing and overall curious about what goes on. Over time, we opened up to the concept, understanding the physical endurance and strength it must take to "fight" with others in that context. A few of us even admitted to maybe wanting to try it out some day. As for philosophical discussions regarding the book itself, we were lacking, but I rather enjoyed the time we had and the talks that ensued in lieu of Venter-time.

Yay for a post! I should be able to actually get some questions on this one later tonight!


  1. (FQ)What was the name of the Japanese project to turn Mycoplasma genitalium into a computer-simulated version of the cell? E-Cell Project (pg 141)

    (FQ) What is the trophy won at the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition, and what is the significance of its shape?
    large aluminum Lego brick that symbolizes the belief that life can be built by snapping together subroutines (pg 146)

    (DQ)-How do you feel about turning bioengineering and alterations of DNA into a commercial competition? Is this a clever ploy to draw out creativity, or making light of the importance of these vital systems?

    Here is a link interviewing some of the contestants in iGEM: http://vimeo.com/10043261

  2. Glad you enjoyed the walkabout. I've devised a new Peripatetic form that should make it easier to stay on topic. If we can't do that, we'll have to abandon the experiment.

    Maps were hard to find? I walked into the Student Union this morning and grabbed a handful. I'll bring you some.

  3. (FQ) What fictional concept, proposed by Isaac Asimov in his sci-fi short "Runaround", does Venter use as an example for attempts to grapple issues with synthetic life?
    Answer: The Three Laws of Robotics (p.152)

    (FQ) True/False: Attempts to model organs and tissues did not begin until the late 1980's.
    Answer: False (p.140)

    (FQ) What scientist is known for her work on bacterial cell division and proving spatial organization inside of bacterial cells, especially in regards to division and the cell cycle?
    Answer: Lucy Shapiro (p.145)

    (DQ) The chapter discusses much of how life can be equated to computer software, and now with the details, I'd like to see how the class feels about being compared to machines. Does this detract from our humanity?

    Link: http://fora.tv/2012/11/17/j_craig_venter_the_software_of_life

  4. FQ:
    T/F Lucy Shapiro proved bacterial cellular organization.
    Is an information processing system an organism once it is advanced enough? Is life only an information processing system or more, and what constitutes life as an info. Processing system?